You’d hope that law enforcement would take a hard stand against a group of gangbanging squatters, but in Florida, that’s not what’s happening. Army Spc. Michael Sharkey had been deployed to Afghanistan two years ago and is now living in Hawaii, where he is stationed. However, his house has been overrun by a group of gangbanging squatters who are refusing to leave. The gangbangers say a friend of Sharkey’s gave them permission to stay there, but she denies that, saying she never gave them such permission. The local sheriff’s office has refused to do anything, saying it is a civil issue that Sharkey must take to civil court if he wants them out of the house.
For months the scene at a soldier’s Florida home was a wild one: People and cars coming and going constantly, dogs running around unleashed, noise, strange characters — and a big cage of chirping birds to boot.
Thing is, the solider — Army Spc. Michael Sharkey — and his wife haven’t lived in their New Port Richey house since Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Now the couple lives in Hawaii where Sharky is stationed.
So what’s been going on at their mainland digs?
Squatters apparently broke in, changed the locks, and refused to leave.
Julio Ortiz and his girlfriend, Fatima Cardoso, told WFLA-TV in Tampa that they had a verbal “contract” with a friend of Sharkey’s — who agreed to look after the house — to do work on the property in exchange for staying there. Lisa Pettus, Sharkey’s friend, denied Ortiz’s claim, saying she hired him to do work, never agreed to let him live there, and never left them alone in the house.
“I don’t want problems,” Ortiz told WFLA-TV earlier in the week. “We’re not doing anything wrong.”
The sentiment never moved Sharkey a bit, especially after learning Ortiz spent a dozen years in prison in New Jersey for robbery, car jacking and selling drugs on school property; Cardorso spent more than two years in prison on drug charges.
What’s more Ortiz was arrested three times in Pasco County last year on minor charges while Cardoso got busted there seven times on drug charges since 2011.